December 14, 2008

Advent Basket Day 14 & Jesse Tree & Advent Sunday Week 3

Today's miniature is a rock from Jesus' words in Matthew 7:24-29. "Jesus knows about building. Jesus builds lives." Jesus admonishes us to not just listen to great preaching and do great Bible studying as incidental additions to our life. The difference between building on sand vs a rock foundation is what we do with these words. Jesus' words are to build a life on, working his words into our life - obedience - a being vs doing.

When our hearts are open and we let love enter, we can know joy! The shepherd's knew the joy (after their initial fear!) as the angel of the Lord appeared to them, glorifying and praising God, "We have news of great joy" to share. Today's Sunday Advent wreath candle is the Shepherd candle.

Why did God choose shepherds to be the first to hear and worship and share the news with all? Shepherds were the lowest of society, like outcasts!

If you do the Jesse Tree Advent readings, by now you've read from God and creation and the highlights of the story; from the introduction of man's shunning listening to and obeying God, to wanting to do it our own way, and on through the story of a covenant community and what that looks like (or doesn't!), in the story of a people that leads to a new covenant in Jesus. Through Jesus we can return to a oneness with the creator God. Oh .... I'm getting ahead of where we'd be in the Jesse Tree readings ... from Noah to Abraham to Moses to Samuel ... today you'd be reading about shepherd to king, David.

Shepherds were not accepted, were dirty, and not welcome in the local synagogues or Temple. Who would believe a shepherd? Yet, "all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them".

The shepherds listened to the angels and believed; and obeying, went and saw the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Jesus belongs to all.

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